Life can turn on a dime. During these times, we often have the greatest amount of need but the least amount of resources. Luckily, there are options that can help you through life’s transitions. Whether what you’re experiencing is an expected or unexpected turn of events, the right health insurance can help you through it. If you need short-term insurance (also known as temporary medical insurance) to cover a transition period in your life, consider a 6-month health insurance plan.
Why a 6-month Health Insurance Plan?
A 6-month health insurance plan can help fill the need for coverage in a variety of situations, including if you:
- Are unemployed, furloughed, or temporarily laid off
- Are a young adult who is no longer covered by a parent’s health insurance plan
- Are in a waiting period before employer coverage begins
- Retired early and need coverage before Medicare kicks in
- Were recently discharged from the military
- Missed the deadline to enroll in comprehensive health coverage
In these cases, and in similar situations, a 6-month short-term health insurance plan might be what you need.
Flexible and Affordable Coverage
Generally, you have the flexibility to pick from several insurance plan lengths with short-term health insurance, including a 6-month plan. Temporary medical insurance plans can provide one month to nearly 3 years of coverage. Technically, your first coverage period can’t exceed 364 days.
You may or may not have to reapply, and your coverage and costs may change. The maximum length of an insurance plan depends on your state’s regulations. If you can apply for new short-term coverage, remember that each additional coverage period is separate and technically a new plan that is subject to medical underwriting and pre-existing conditions. Often, you can drop coverage at any time without penalty.
Short-term health insurance premiums are typically lower than individual Affordable Care Act (ACA) health insurance premiums — unless you qualify for premium tax credits on an ACA plan. Usually, short-term insurance plan monthly premiums are lower when the deductible is higher.
This kind of insurance is widely accepted by doctors and hospitals, but like most comprehensive insurance, it may rely on a pre-determined provider network. Additionally, temporary coverage can begin as early as the day after application.
What Are the Drawbacks of Temporary Coverage?
The drawbacks of temporary coverage include the fact that it won’t entitle you to the same rights and protections as qualified ACA health insurance plans or job-based coverage. Because temporary health insurance plans do not have to be compliant with the ACA, not all the rules mandated by the ACA apply to them.1 For instance, short-term plans require you to answer medical questions when you apply, and they do not have to cover:
- Pre-existing conditions
- Preventive care
- Maternity care
- Mental health services2,3
Also, these insurance plans are not required to have a limit on what you could pay out-of-pocket for medical care, though some do. It is important to note that all plans vary greatly, and the regulations for these plans are different from state to state.4
In general, temporary health insurance can cover you for a maximum of just under 12 months when you first sign up.3 Depending on your state’s regulations, you may be able to apply for new short-term coverage beyond the initial coverage period. For example, you may be able to find a 6-month health insurance plan and apply for new coverage after the first 6-month plan expires. This would get you an additional 6 months of coverage, if your state allows it.
Remember that temporary coverage is just that — temporary — and is not meant to be a permanent solution to health insurance.
We Can Help You Find Coverage Solutions
Short-term health insurance plans can fill a need. A policy can help you feel prepared for an illness or injury. It can extend you some level of benefits at an affordable price based on your circumstances. If you find yourself in one of life’s many transition periods that leaves you without health coverage, temporary health insurance could help you.
HealthMarkets can help you get covered by helping you find the best healthcare coverage option for your needs—even if your best option doesn’t include something we offer. We can also help you figure out if a 6-month health insurance plan is right for you, or if you qualify for premium tax credits on an Affordable Care Act (ACA) plan. Our help is always offered at no cost to you, and there is no obligation to enroll. Shop, compare, and apply for healthcare coverage today.